Civilian Conservation Corps Camp and District Headquarters - Lufkin, Texas

Established in 1882, the town of Lufkin grew up amidst a regional timber boom that shaped East Texas. During the late nineteenth century, as national population growth and industrial development exhausted the few remaining hardwood forests in the northeastern United States, a growing demand for southern lumber and other timber products helped drive a surging business in trees. With a rail stop on the Houston East and West Texas Railroad, Lufkin soon emerged as an important hub for the timber trade. Local forests thus played a major role in the founding of Lufkin and have helped to shape the city ever since.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, federal officials with the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration selected Lufkin as the site for a large Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp that operated from 1933 to 1942. Working in association with the Texas Forest Service (TFS), the Lufkin CCC camp used progressive forestry techniques to help the East Texas forest industry. The TFS also made Lufkin the District Headquarters over many East Texas CCC camps. The district offices were located in an educational building rented from the First Christian Church located behind Hotel Angelina on Shepherd Avenue. The building is now an antiques store.

By the end of 1933, the Lufkin District was in charge of seventeen CCC camps. Some CCC camps disbanded or moved to new districts, but all of these camps were, at one time or another, under the Lufkin District: Ratcliff, Nancy, Jasper, Beaumont, Woodville, Livingston, Huntsville, Kennard, Groveton, Madisonville, Trinity, Apple Springs, Lufkin, Nacogdoches, San Augustine, Coldspring, Honey Island, Oakhurst, and Maydelle. The CCC camps of the Lufkin District employed thousands of young men during the Great Depression, paying them $30 a month, and helped over nine years of operation to make East Texas what it is today.

The men in Lufkin District camps spent their days building fire towers, bridges, culverts, and roads in order to access remote parts of the forest. These men also strung up telephone lines, planted trees, and fought forest fires. The CCC fed these men well; the Lufkin District found that new enrollees gained an average of almost four pounds in their first five weeks. The CCC camps purchased food from local ranchers, which in turn helped the local economies. Each of the Lufkin District’s camps pumped an estimated $10,000 monthly into their local communities.

The CCC abandoned the Lufkin camp in 1942, the same year that the United States government began building Prisoner of War (POW) camps for captured prisoners taken in World War II. Lufkin was home to two such POW camps. In November 1943, Southland Paper Mills leased the old CCC camp as a POW labor camp, and 300 German prisoners held there salvaged lumber and produced pulpwood for Southland Paper until 1946.

In 2008, the state of Texas erected a historical marker at the site of the former CCC Lufkin District heavy equipment maintenance facility on current day Raguet Street. The marker notes that the Lufkin camp not only proved to be instrumental in relieving unemployment in East Texas but also "contributed greatly to forest conservation in Texas."

Audio

Signing up for the CCC in Lufkin An oral history interview with Claude Welch. Becky Bailey conducted the interview in 1983. Welch describes his experience signing up for the CCC in Lufkin, Texas. Source: "Oral History: Welch, Claude, Sr.," The History Center, accessed April 19, 1945, http://www.thehistorycenteronline.com/oral-history/w.
The Best Jobs in Lufkin An oral history interview with Mrs. Charles E. Weeks, Jr. Becky Bailey conducted the interview in 1982. Mrs. Weeks describes the civilians that worked for the Lufkin CCC District Headquarters. Source: "Oral History: Weeks, Mrs. Charles, Jr.," The History Center, accessed April 19, 1945, http://www.thehistorycenteronline.com/oral-history/w.

Images

Letter from the War Department, October 11, 1935
Letter from the War Department, October 11, 1935 Terrence M. Clark was accepted to work as an artist for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in Lufkin, Texas. In 1932, Clark's foot was amputated; he was unable to perform the same tasks as most of the CCC enrollees. Source: "Ghosts, New Stories, Email and the CCC," Coffee with Clark, accessed on April 19, 2015, http://clarkcoffee.blogspot.com/2013/02/ghosts-new-stories-email-and-ccc.html.
Drawing Titled: “Negro Foundry Workers, Lufkin, 1936,”
Drawing Titled: “Negro Foundry Workers, Lufkin, 1936,” This drawing was done by Terrence M. Clark. Clark was accepted in 1935 to work as an artist for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in Lufkin, Texas. Clark had to turn down the offer in order to complete his Art education. Clark reapplied in 1936, but did not get approval. The letter of rejection suggests that Clark apply for relief employment with the Federal Arts Project under the Works Project Administration. Source: "Ghosts, News Stories, Email and the CCC," Coffee with Clark, accessed on April 19, 2015, http://clarkcoffee.blogspot.com/2013/02/ghosts-new-stories-email-and-ccc.html.
Forester W. T. “Bill” Hartman
Forester W. T. “Bill” Hartman Many educated members from the Texas Forest Service (TFS) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) taught classes in math, drafting, and many other subjects at night. Hartman was a foreman at the Lufkin CCC Camp in East Texas who taught classes. Source: "Civilian Conservation Corps Sustains Forests, Parks and Protection from Wildfire," Texas A&M Forest Service, accessed April 19, 2015, http://tfsweb.tamu.edu/history/Single-Article.aspx?id=19540#.
Rothhammer 1944
Rothhammer 1944 This stone wall was once part of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp in Lufkin, Texas. From 1943 until 1946, this camp served as a German prisoner of war (POW) labor camp. This inscription is believed to be from one of the POWs and still can be seen off Raguet Street in Lufkin. Source: "Angelina County at War: A World War II Exhibit," The History Center, accessed on April 19, 2015, http://www.thehistorycenteronline.com/exhibits/onsite/angelina-county-at-war.
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Lufkin District 1936 Annual
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Lufkin District 1936 Annual This 84 page annual describes the history of the CCC, as well as the history of the Lufkin District. Included are CCC camp rosters, group photos and candid photos of daily CCC life. Creator: http://www.thehistorycenteronline.com
Captain C.W. Hanna and Lufkin District Officers
Captain C.W. Hanna and Lufkin District Officers Captain Hanna, front row, fifth from the end, joined the United States Army during World War I. Captain Hanna became the commanding officer at the Lufkin Civilian Conservation Corps District Headquarters on December 16, 1935. Source: http://www.thehistorycenteronline.com
Civilian Workers
Civilian Workers At the Lufkin District Headquarters for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), around seventy-five civilian employees worked administrative jobs. These jobs included clerical work, accounting, stenography, and mechanical work. The opportunity to work for the CCC, in many capacities, allowed a generation to survive the Great Depression. Source: http://www.thehistorycenteronline.com
CCC Men at Work
CCC Men at Work Over two-and-a-half million acres of forest land were cleaned out and improved and made available for faster, healthy growth via CCC work. Source: http://www.thehistorycenteronline.com
Activities at Camp P-57-T in Lufkin
Activities at Camp P-57-T in Lufkin Source: http://www.thehistorycenteronline.com
Roster of CCC Company 838
Roster of CCC Company 838 Source: http://www.thehistorycenteronline.com
History of CCC Company 838
History of CCC Company 838 Source: http://www.thehistorycenteronline.com
Lufkin Daily News, Centennial Edition, August 16, 1936
Lufkin Daily News, Centennial Edition, August 16, 1936 This edition of the Lufkin Daily News highlights the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the Lufkin District. Source: http://www.thehistorycenteronline.com/

Location

Metadata

Rachael Larkin, “Civilian Conservation Corps Camp and District Headquarters - Lufkin, Texas,” East Texas History, accessed July 17, 2024, https://easttexashistory.org/items/show/119.